When the school year ends this month, it will mark the first time since 1863 the village of Edgewood won’t have a school for students to return to in the fall.
To help console the small community located at the edge of Effingham County, an open house is planned Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
“The biggest reason to have the open house is to provide the community and former students an opportunity for closure,” said Edgewood Principal Cheri Marten. “We hope friends and former classmates will come and visit.”
Several speakers are slated for the event, including former teachers, former historian Delaine Donaldson, Effingham County Sheriff John Monnet, former principal Phil Ayers and former Edgewood student Bill Altman.
Although Marten said she is hesitant to speak to the feeling of an entire community, she describes local sentiment as somber at best.
“Overall, I think there is a sense of sadness and inevitability in the community about losing its school,” she said.
Effingham Unit 40 school board decided to close the school to help the district cope with the financial strain of declining enrollment and diminishing state aid.
Marten said a trip is planned later next week to bring Edgewood students to Effingham in an effort to aid the transition.
Marten said she is proud of the community.
“I have loved my time down here,” she said. “There were great teachers, kids and parents. It’s like a little family.”
Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, at tony.huff man@effinghamdaily news.com or on Twitter @Ednthuffman.